NDFP urged to probe Gingoog city mayor shooting

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


SOWING the Seeds of Peace in Mindanao, a multi-sectoral group composed of all peace advocates in the island, reiterates the call of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. demanding for an investigation from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the armed confrontation that involved his wife Mayor Ruthie Guingona on April 20.

The incident resulted to the death of the mayor’s driver and bodyguard, wounding the mayor and two others onboard her vehicle.

Bishop Felixberto Calang of Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the main convenor of the peace group called on for a complete investigation by the NDFP following the provisions of the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the NPA’s own rules of engagement and protocols.

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“Sowing the Seeds recognized the former Vice President’s consistent advocacy for peace during the Estrada and Arroyo administrations and for standing up against the all-out war in Mindanao,” Calang said in a statement sent Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

The peace group also acknowledged his daughter Marie’s efforts in the humanitarian missions for the internally displaced in Central Mindanao in 2001.

Marie Guingona is one of mayoralty candidates in Gingoog City.

The peace group said the armed confrontation with the New People’s Army (NPA) and Guingona’s escorts demonstrated the need to further strengthen the established mechanisms of the GPH-NDFP Human Rights Joint Monitoring Committee. This will give anyone aggrieved a venue to file complaints like this incident.

The incident, Calang said, compels for the immediate resumption of peace talks to lay down these complaints and issues in the negotiating table.

He said the incident has been a reflection of the realities of elections in the middle of the ongoing internal armed conflict in the country.

“The inherent nature of elections as gun-wielding and the inherent nature of revolutionary movements as armed in the assertion of their political territories are bound to cross paths,” Calang emphasized.

Ink comprehensive agreement

The peace group calls on the government and the NDFP to resume formal peace talks to ink the Comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (SER) so that the negotiations can move on to discuss political and constitutional reforms (PCR) as the third substantive agenda.

Calang said that Sowing the Seeds is open to become a third party body to conduct an independent investigation of the incident and pinpoint accountability and due remedies.

He hopes that the incident involving Guingona will not further dim hopes of resuming the GPH-NDFP peace talks.

As peace advocates, Calang said, there is a need to re-emphasize the importance of peace negotiations as a viable means to tackle and resolve outstanding issues and especially to address the roots of the armed conflict. (Grace Cantal-Albasin)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 24, 2013.

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